Collaboration: Bigger Than Me
Author's note: This is a collabortaion, if you would like to join in you can find us in the writers workshop... Show full author's note »
Figuring It OutIt was one of those days, when sleep seems to escape on and Zack found himself counting the number of times he thought he heard the rain hit the roof top. His eyes were restless, his mind was active; the thought of her clouded his mind. She was dead now and he could have stopped it. But he was too weak. and now she was gone. If only he had taken the risk- just a little discomfort and he could have saved her life.
But he couldn't and now he was living with the regret of letting her die. What
Every night, I would hear cries from Zack's room. There is so much pain, hurt, and regret in the sobs; it hurt me to listen to it. They were howls of pain that would shake the souls. Every now and then he would call out her name and beg her to come back to life. So his parents wouldn't glare. So his friends would stop blaming. So thing could go back to normal.
And thing did, kind of. He started going back to school talking with friends, all failed attempts of moving forward. But hope was coming. The helping hand to get him out of his pit of despair was on her way. He didn't see her at first, the new girl at school. He didn't know that this girl would be his savor, his angel of hope. But he'll just have to wait until fate makes them cross each other's paths. The first time he saw her, his heart ached. She looked like an older version of his sister. Well, how he imagined she'd look if she had had the chance to grow older.
He wondered who she was so one day he asks his best friend, well trying to be best friends again. "Atom! Hey slow down will ya?!" He calls out as he chases him down the sidewalk. It was a Friday afternoon and school was over.
"What do you want?" Atom snapped at him as he finally walks next to him. He takes in deep breathes and try's to adores the need to use his inhaler.
"Did you join track? Because you were walking pretty fast."
"Will you cut to the chase Zack, what do you want?" Zack thinks, he hadn't put much thought into how he would ask about the new girl. He didn't want Atom to start rumors about him and her. He wasn't ready to start dating again yet. "Well what do you want, Zack? I don't have all day as you can see."
"Look, I know I've blown you off and I'm sorry I was just having a hard time with my sister’s death and..." "I get that part," Atom snapped, "Now What. Do. You. Want."
"The girl who came here, I know it sound crazy but, do you think she looks like Karman?" he asked referring to his dead sister. "Every time I look at her that's who I see, and she's pretty right."
"I wouldn't know," Atom shrugged not looking at Zack now, "Wait you said she looks like you're sister and that's she's pretty. You're not trying to date her are you because that would be kind of weird?”
"What?! No way! I was just asking that’s all. Man, you take everything so seriously." Zack can hide his true feeling a way really good sometimes and other times he just can't.
"Well alright, what ever you say..."
Zack quickly adds. "Don't tell the others okay, do you promise?"
"What, do you really think I'm going to go running around the school yelling "Zack likes a girl" over and over again?" Atom asked, and Zack just gave him a look, "It was only that one time," Zack defended, "Besides that was last year. Forgive and forget right." Zack just glared causing Atom to laugh "Fine I wont tell any one." he promised.
"Thank you." Zack sigh and Atom just gave a tight nod looking at him sideways.
"Are you planning on hanging out with us again, or are you just going to take the information and go?"
"What no, why would I do that?"
"It was just a question. You don't need to get defensive unless you're guilty of something."
Zack swallows hard at the sudden dryness in his throat. "So where are you guys hanging out? At the same place or..." He lost his train of thought. He starts to have flashbacks of when his sister was still alive and hung out with him and his friends.
"Yes, we still hang out at the diner. So are you coming or not?"
"I cant!” Zach runs as fast as he could faster until he falls his legs collapsed tears run down his eyes. BEEP! BEEP!” Get out of the rode you idiot!” the car speeds around him. Zach’s head spins.
"You idiot!" Atom all but yelled as he grabbed Zack’s arm and pulled him to safety. "What's wrong with you are you trying to get you're self killed?!"
"Maybe," Zach replied. While he had never really considered suicide, it seemed almost appropriate to go so quickly, to join his sister in another form. But quickly, Zach decided that it was not enough torture to go quickly - no, he would have to live out his life without Karman knowing every day that it was his fault and his fault alone that she was no longer breathing, smiling, laughing. The knowledge was torturous and Zach believed he could have been dead a hundred times over and not been in such pain, but it was almost comforting to at least know he deserved it.
"Dude, you are seriously messed up," Atom said, seeing Zach's pensive look. "Come on." Atom dragged him along, "Me and the guy's are hanging out at The Cafe. They're waiting for me there, and you're coming with me."
Zack was out of it, his head was spinning like a record that was playing to fast but he still heard what Atom had said. "N-No! I-I just can't Atom. I-" Atom gave him a harsh glare that made Zack bite the inside of his cheek, tasting salt and metal of his own blood.
"You're not getting out of this one, Zachary. You either come hang with us or I'll throw you in the dumpster just like when we were in seventh grade."
”You can't do that!” Zack protested. ”can and am” atom smiled at him, ”it's good for you to start talking with other people” By the time they got to the cafe everyone else was already there just as atom said they would. ”Wow, you actually got Zack to come out” one of the guy jeered.
”By atom none the less” one snickered a knowing look was passed around the table before atom gave them a look that told them to be quiet.
Oh man!! Zack's mind screams. As he stares around the table at all of those eyes that once showed respect and loyalty towards him. Some showed anger while some show pity and some even showed both towards him now. He wasn't the leader of this pack anymore but Atom was now. Atom who had showed kindness to him, Atom who was his best friend since pre-k, Atom who fell in love Karman Zack's dead sister! His throat felt dry again and he felt suddenly sick.
”I know that look” one of the guys, Brian said, ”Zack you don't still think that Atom had a thing for you're sister do you?”
”He probably does.” Said Eric another one of the guys spoke.
”You don't know,” Brian voice dropped of mock sarcasm.
”How could he when he's been gone for so long.” Eric reminds glaring in Zack's directing.
”So you don't know that Atom's...”
”Guys cut it out.” Atom interrupted, “You're making Zack feel awkward.” Zack watched with mild shock at how easily Atom controlled the group. Something big must of happened while he was gone.
Lunch passed smoothly after that and Zack found himself walking back home. Atom was at his side playing keeper. ”You know you can't get better until you talk about it.” Atom said out of the blue.
”There's nothing to talk about.” Zack snapped.
”I get that you're upset but holding everything inside won't make you feel any better.”
”It's my burden to bare not others.”
”How about this, I tell you something about me that you don't know and you tell me what happened that night”
”What do I not know about you?” Zack snorted, Atom and him have been friends since they were little.
”You'd be surprised” was all Atom could mutter out.
”It was my idea my,” Zack started, “We snuck out at night to swim in the back of my yard. She him her head when she jumped in and I couldn't pull her out. By the time my parents got there it was too late.” Zack looked at Atom to see his reaction. Atom just nodded.
”You know it's not your fault right.”
”Sure whatever, now what is it that I don't know about you.”
”I'm gay” Atom shrugged, ”I came out last month.”
"What! How could you not tell me that?" Zach said staring at Atom with wide eyes. Atom shifted nervously, avoiding his best friend's gaze.
"I was scared, I mean, you're my best friend and I didn't want to loose you," Atom said shrugging but still not looking him in the eye. Zach sighed and looked at him with a 'really you think I would reject you' kind of look. "You idiot you know you can't get rid of me that easily. Anyways you have a boyfriend?" Atom shrugs and his eyes narrowed to the ground. "Well who is he?" Zack watches as Atom takes in a deep breathe and release a big sigh.
"No...I don't have one yet." It got suddenly very awkward.
"Oh...Any one you're interested in?" Zack saw Atom stiffen a bit making Zack tilt his head to the side a little.
"Well...There IS one guy that I sort of like..."
”Who is it?” Zack asked. Now Zack finally realized that Atom was an inch sorter than himself and just a bit smaller in general.
”This talk isn't supposed to be about me.” Atom said.
”Atom, you trust me right?” He got a stiff nod in return, “Then tell me.”
Atom looked up him eyes glistening, “I can't, it would make things weird between us”
”It's not like it's me.” Zack laughed but stopped when he saw the look on Atom's face. "Oh...So it is-"
"Yes...It's you..." Zack stiffen, even the air felt very awkward. He stares in Atom's bright blue eyes that stared at him completely differently from a few moments ago.
"Atom...I'm flattered that you think that I am...Attractive but I'm not..." Zack lost his train of thought.
"You're not what, Zack?" Atom snapped suddenly bringing him back to earth. "Atom I didn't mean-" "JUST SAY IT ZACK!!!!" Atom screams in his face. "Fine!!! I'm not gay!!!!!!!"
”You don't think I don't know that!” Atom yelled, “I'm sorry.” He said afterwards taking a few deep breaths, “I shouldn't of yelled at you.” Atom ran his fingers though his red hair.
“It's alright.” Zack said.
Atom just smirked, “I told you it would make thing awkward.”
You have no idea. Zack thought but he just said. "No nothing is awkward, Atom. You'll always be my best buddy." Zack lightly punched Atom on his arm with a grin. Atom rolls his eyes but then suddenly turned very serious.
"Zack, you can not tell anyone about this, only Brain, Eric, Kimmy and you know." Atom says in a hash, steel whisper.
"You didn't tell your parents? Atom, your dad has to know about this!" Atom glares at Zack, making him bite hard on the inside of his cheek again.
"No, not even my father could know...Not until I go to collage."
"But wouldn't he know if you bring home a guy instead of a girl!?" Atom chuckled.
"Kimmy agreed to pretend to be my "Girl Friend" so problem solved."
Zack stares at his friend in amazement and respect. "Wow, that is really smart... whose Kimmy?" Atom eyes widen a bit.
"Oh...Remember earlier when you asked about the new girl?" Zack nods slowly. I know where this is going. He warned himself. "Yeah, she and I became friends and I really trust her with my secret so..."
”That's why you didn't want to talk about her.” Zack said finally putting the conversation from earlier together.
Atom nodded, “It's getting late. If you want I could call my dad to give us a ride home.”
Zack sighs, rubbing his temple then let his hand drop back to his side. He looks at Atom and nods once. "Alright... But I want to meet her, you got that Atom. I want to make sure I could trust her keeping YOUR secret. Okay?"
Atom raised a brow, “You just want to meet her, don't you?” Atom said as he reached for his phone.
”What,” Zack squeaked, “No, I just said I want to make sure that she can keep your secret.”
”That is by far, the worst excess I've ever heard.”
"No it's not! I'm just looking out for you. That's all!"
Atom shrugs. "Alright, what ever you say, man." Zack starts mumbling under his breathe as Atom talks to his dad. "Dad can you pick us up?...Yes dad, I have a girlfriend but I'm not with her now...I'm with Zack...You know him, my best friend since pre-k...So you'll pick us up?...okay we're near a few blocks from the diner...okay see ya later." Zack stares at Atom who smiled winningly. "See easy as that."
"Wow, Atom...You're so...sly?" Atom rolls his eyes at him.
”It's not my fault my dad's an idiot.” Atom shrugged. “Besides, you're not so sly yourself.”
”I'm really just trying to look out for you,” Zack defended, ”Is it that hard to believe that I'm trying to look out for you.”
”No offence but I'm used to looking out for you, remember back in second grade when that fifth grader...”
”I get the point.” Zack snapped not wanting to talk about his past bullying problems. Atom looked like he was going to say something more when he saw his dads car pull up.
”Hey dad can you give Zack a ride home?” He asked as they both slide into the back seat.
Well seeing that he's already into the car...”
”Thanks dad.” Atom smiled.